There are many different high-quality insulation products to choose from in South Africa. On average, the products are quite equal in R-value and thermal performance. Choose insulation materials that fits your price range as well as the climatic zone requirements for your area.
Depending on where you live in South Africa, you will need to install a product that’s specified for your climatic region. There will be different requirements for each area like Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Western Cape.
R-VALUE OF INSULATION MATERIALS
R-value is extremely important when selecting ceiling insulation. The higher the R-value, the more the product will be able to restrict heat flow. You can also opt for a higher R-value than specified by the SANS building regulations.
- 3.37 (excluding roofing materials)
- 3.7 (including roofing materials)
TYPES OF INSULATION PRODUCTS
In South Africa, there are a few different types of insulation products to choose from when insulating your home. It controls the heat flow in and out of your home. It is used to block hot and cold air from entering or exiting. Think of it as a barrier between your family and the external seasons or temperature changes.
Homes that have been insulated with different types of insulation materials, that meet the Building Code of South Africa guidelines, will enjoy year-round comfort. Substantial savings can be made on heating and cooling bills. In most cases, up to 50% can be saved on power bills.
CHOOSING INSULATION MATERIALS
Furthermore, when selecting a product, some materials require protective gear. This may be something to keep in mind if you are considering a DIY installation. When selecting a product, it can be broken down into two main categories.
REFLECTIVE INSULATION MATERIALS
Reflective insulation, also known as radiant barriers, are installed directly under the roof tiles. It is also extremely good at creating a moisture barrier between the external air and your roof void. Although it has an R-value, it’s small in comparison to bulk products. Below are examples of these products:
Radiant barriers are usually made out of a shiny reflective foil with an air gap between the front and back surface. The surface needs to be kept clean in order for it to reflect radiant heat effectively.
BULK INSULATION PRODUCTS
Bulk materials hold very high R-values. The higher the R-value the better the product will be able to restrict heat flow. There are also many different types of insulation products in the bulk category to choose from. Below is a list of high-quality thermal products available to South Africans:
ACOUSTIC INSULATION MATERIALS
When it comes to acoustic insulation products and soundproofing in Johannesburg and Pretoria, the best way to reduce the effects of sounds and vibrations is to use a dense material. Moreover, the higher the density, the more effective the acoustic properties will be.
These products are lightweight and easy to install. There are a few different brands to choose from. You can select your desired product and R-value. Furthermore, they are perfect for timber and metal stud systems. High-density insulation materials are commonly used in floors as well.
HIGH-DENSITY INSULATION PRODUCTS
For a reduction in noise levels between rooms, high-density sound insulation products reduce noise transfer. Acoustic products also have the advantage of having thermal properties as well. Moreover, the acoustic insulation materials can reduce sound absorption by up to 75% in some cases. This helps dampen the sound levels between rooms and external noises.
Often used in offices to keep noise levels down. Additionally in hospitals and doctor’s rooms. Home theatres and general soundproofing between rooms are also common nowadays. Too put it simply, density increase sound absorption. R-value increases thermal properties. Compressed insulation products will also increase density by will lower the R-value.
ADVANTAGES OF INSULATION MATERIALS
There are many advantages to having your home properly insulated with insulation products like fibreglass or polyester. The most important advantages of insulation are that it gives a reduction in home temperatures. Whether it be hot or cold temperatures. The material keeps your home more consistent without the need for heaters and air cons.
Secondly, because your home temperature is more stable and you are putting less strain on heating and cooling devices, you can expect to save a lot of money on heating and cooling bills during peak season times. Peak seasons like mid-summer and mid-winter. This is when we all put a lot of strain on our fragile electricity infrastructure here in South Africa. This can be avoided by having your home properly insulated by professionals.
WHAT EXACTLY DOES INSULATION DO?
It stops the air from outside your home from entering in through your ceiling. Whether it is hot air in summer or cold air in winter. Without insulation as a barrier between your ceiling and roof area, there is only a thin piece of ceiling to stop the unwanted air from entering your home.
ADVANTAGES OF INSULATION PRODUCTS IN WINTER
When the inside of your home (specifically your rooms) are at different temperatures this tends to be a problem. What you will find is in the colder winter months. Your heating systems need to compensate for all the cold air moving in through your ceiling and into your home below. It takes a lot more energy to warm up a cold room in a house. So your electricity bill will increase astronomically.
If your home uses a central heating system. You will find that an uninsulated home will take much longer to warm up and reach a comfortable level. This is a problem because you will see your electricity bills will rise. As you use more energy to maintain a comfortable environment inside your home.
ADVANTAGES OF INSULATION MATERIALS IN SUMMER
You will find a very similar problem in summer with an uninsulated home. The sun bakes on your roof from the outside, cause the inside of your roof to warm up dramatically. The heat that gets built up inside your roof then starts getting forced inside your home through the thin ceiling.
When you have no insulation to block the heat from entering your ceiling. It can be very uncomfortable during the summer season making every room in your home unbearable to be in. Which leads to putting the air cons on and trying to cool the room down. Which again leads to higher electricity bills!
PREVENTING AIR MOVEMENT
Think of insulation as a blocker. It blocks hot and cold air from moving into areas of your home that you don’t want it to be in. Keeping your indoor environment cosy in winter and most definitely cooler in summer. There are different types of insulation that is available for homeowners to buy.
The preferred insulation of many people would knauf. Which is a fibreglass based product. Another very popular product is polyester insulation called isotherm.
Many people in the last few years have been looking into eco-friendly insulation, and isotherm is just that. It contains no itchy fibres. In fact, you could sleep with it like a duvet and you wouldn’t have any problems with chemicals or fibreglass. Polyester insulation is by far the most eco-friendly insulation we have on offer, with no chemical additives.
HOW CLIMATE INFLUENCES INSULATION
Another thing to take into consideration is the climate where your home is located. Depending on where you are situated. Your home could potentially need a thicker material. Especially if you are located in an extremely hot climate or cold climate.
It is also important to not only judge the material by its thickness. Have a look at the R-value and density of the material as well. Very often you will find a wide variety of materials. That are all made the same thickness but they have completely different R-values. The denser the product and higher the R-value, the better the insulation will be.
ADVANTAGES OF FIBREGLASS INSULATION PRODUCTS
Fibreglass is the most commonly used product today and has been around for the longest. Don’t confuse fibreglass with asbestos. If you are asking yourself the question, does aerolite or knauf contain asbestos?
The answer is NO, they do not contain asbestos. It is man-made fibreglass that has a good fire rating. You will find that aerolite has a life span of around 40 – 50 years. It will only really need to install it once, and it will continue to save you money thereafter.
ADVANTAGES OF POLYESTER INSULATION PRODUCTS
Polyester is probably the second most commonly used product and slowly growing into the most used material. Here in South Africa, there has been a massive switch between home-owners and products. More and more people going the eco-friendly polyester insulation route nowadays.
There are quite a few different polyester brands on the market available for the consumer to choose from. Isotherm has become the biggest polyester manufacturer here in South Africa.
The advantages of insulation made from polyester are amazing. No itchy fibres or chemical additives. It is also made from recycled plastic bottles which are good for the environment. Eco-friendly recycled polyester can be recycled again which is another good point for the product.
ADVANTAGES OF CELLULOSE FIBER INSULATION
Cellulose fibre is also known as blow-in insulation or loose fill. Is another product here in South Africa that a few people use. It is treated with chemicals to give it a fire retardant status and is made of recycled newspapers.
Can cellulose fibre be recycled? The answer is no cellulose fibre cannot be recycled once it has been produced. As far as the insulating value is concerned. It doesn’t have a bad R-value. In fact, it matches both aerolite and isotherm. The chemicals in cellulose may be a bit of a concern for the average home-owner.
Source: Building Insulation